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The Struggle of Summers Off

The Struggle of Summers Off

By Krystal Dunlap

            I greatly dislike summer vacation. It is because of the lack of required daily work. Facing weeks of relaxing with no to-do lists is ironically daunting for me. I kid you not - by about week three, I feel burdened facing the long trial of summer break. At this point, I imagine many of you are wondering how time off could possibly be a challenge. Some of you may have the thought that three months off a year sounds like a cake walk.

            This rather silly physical illustration does play itself out seriously in spiritual situations. The instinct to evaluate someone else’s challenge is great, especially comparing it to our own. However, it seems that the spiritual comparison is flipped. Instead of seeing another’s burden as minor or unnoticeable, we often see their trial as insurmountable, far beyond whatever we are facing.

            I have seen this played out often over the years. To my chagrin, I have been told by fellow Christians that they consider my burdens in comparison with theirs and think to themselves that their challenges are not nearly as difficult as mine. They then use this evaluation to criticize themselves for struggling with whatever weight they carry.

            Though I can see their point of view, I have difficulty agreeing with the sentiment. Consider the list of temptations in Galatians 5. Note that they are not ranked according to difficulty. God did not put a scale in scripture by which we can measure the weight of our burdens. All trials and temptations wear on us, and the consequence for succumbing to any of them is the same. So though one burden may seem heavier than another in our physical eyes, it really is not from the spiritual perspective.

            We must realize that there are reasons that we carry varied burdens, such as summer break or poor health. First, Satan plays a role. His ultimate goal is to destroy our souls (1 Pet.5:7-14). In his spiritual fight against mankind, a certain method of attack may not affect one person, but it will injure another. Knowing this, he tailors his myriad evil tools to prey upon our individual weaknesses (Job 1:9-2:10)

            The Father also plays a role, too. He promised to limit our temptations to what we can bear (1 Cor.10:13). This means that He will keep certain trials from each of us based on what He knows is within us. Thus, the individual burdens we each carry are ones we can overcome with the Lord’s help.

            Between these two beings, we are both pushed to our limits and saved from the edge. The way that this plays out in our lives’ challenges will look differently for all of us, as we are unique creatures created by the Father.

            I cannot say for certain that comparing our trials to another is wrong, but personally I do not think it is a wise choice. I may deal with a burden that you cannot imagine having in your life, but the Lord knew I could overcome when it was given to me. You are faced with your own challenges with which Satan hopes to overtake you, and you must see them as the serious and dangerous trials that they are.

            Remember, there is no spiritual scale. Do not let comparison between your cross and another’s lead you to downplay your own struggles or the strength that you show in facing them.

Integrity

            "The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgressors shall destroy them." (Prov. 11:3)

            In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north; so they built the great Chinese wall. It was so high they knew no one could climb over it and so thick that nothing could break it down. They settled back to enjoy their security. During the first hundred years of the wall's existence, China was invaded three times. Not once did the barbaric hordes break down the wall or climb over the top. Each time they bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right through the gates. The Chinese were so busy building and relying on walls of stone, they forgot to teach integrity to their people.

            "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for You." (Psalm 25:21)

What is Charity?

It is silence when your words would hurt,

It is patience when your neighbor is curt,

It is deafness when a scandal flows,

It is thoughtfulness for others woes,

It is promptness when duty calls,

It is courage when misfortune falls.

(Author Unknown)

Test Your Samuel Knowledge

Who was Samuel’s mother? ________________

Who was Samuel’s father? _____________________

Who was the priest that raised Samuel? ____________________

What kings of Israel did Samuel anoint? ___________________________________

What king of Israel did Samuel rebuke? ___________________________________

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